GDB 29.0: SHOW UP AT HOME

Jason Gregor
December 03 2013 01:24PM

Home ice advantage has been a mirage for the Edmonton Oilers so far this season.

The Oilers are 3-8-0 at home this year. They've been outscored 38-23. They've allowed 3+ goals in 9 of the 11 home games and they've scored once or been shutout seven times. There is no other way to say it, they've been awful on home ice, and it's about time they start giving their fans something to cheer about.

In 2010, on their way to drafting Taylor Hall at least they were competitive at home, 18-19-4, and 9-28-4 on the road.
In 2011, they were pretty much the same team at home on and on the road; 13-22-6 at home and 12-23-6 on the road.
In 2012, they were 18-17-6 at home, and 14-23-4 on the road.

Last year, the Oilers won more games on the road than they did at home, 9-11-4 at home and 10-11-3 on the road.

There is no reason the Oilers should be this horrendous at Rexall Place, and it has to change. The games are still announced as sell outs, but I know some fans are wasting their tickets and not showing up. The Oilers must be aware of this.

When that many fans elect to just "waste" their tickets, Oilers management better take notice. This happened in the early 90s, and once the team wasn't competitive, 1993-1996, the fans stopped buying tickets. The Oilers shouldn't be naive enough to believe that couldn't happen again.

Fans have been incredibly loyal and patient, but if the Oilers don't start winning some home games soon, I sense we could see even more empty seats as the season progresses.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Perron-Arcobello-Yakupov
Jones-Gagner-Hemsky
Smyth-Acton-Joensuu

Ference-Petry
Grebeshkov-J.Schultz
Belov-N.Schultz

Dubnyk

Ryan Jones has played with desperation since coming out of the pressbox, and Eakins rewarded him by bumping him up the lineup. Eakins moved Yakupov back to the right wing, and put Perron on the right side with him and Arcobello in hopes of creating two scoring lines.

I'm curious to see if Eakins starts to try and get better matchups at home. Will he try to give "softer" minutes to Arcobello's line so they can produce offence, or will he do that with the Gagner trio?

Joensuu has to play with the same passion and determination that Jones did to earn a promotion. I think Joensuu has more to offer, and he needs to start showing it.

TUESDAY TIDBITS...

  • It will be back next week, but this week we incorporated into the GDB.
     
  • Ray Ferraro had an interesting take on my show regarding Taylor Hall, when I asked him what change Hall should make in his game that would help him become a more dominant player.
    I think there is one thing he could do that would elevate his game and he could do it quickly. If he would learn, or accept, that he is not the best option on the ice all the time, I think that could help him a great deal.

    I will give you an example. When he gets the puck, and when he gets moving, if he would give it up a little quicker and separate, because no one is going to catch him, and then get it back; that small change to his game would change his game immensely. He loves to lug the puck. At times he looks like a punt returner. He gets it in his zone and is going to go as far as he can with it, and he can because he's that talented.

    I think if he takes a couple of strides and moves it to a centreman -- and obviously in Edmonton he is playing with talented players so the puck will come back to him --now he is moving again. If he moves it to the middle the defenceman has to take a step to the middle, because he has to defend the centreman, and that will give Taylor another five feet when he gets the puck back. Now the D-man has to cross over and come back, and I like Hall's chances better if he has that much more room to skate, than if he was just lugging the puck all the time.

    I think it is a small change, and if he can get his head around it and try it, he would find that he is going to get more room on the ice than he already creates with his speed.
     
  • Ferraro knows a thing or two about creating offensive chances. Ferraro is currently the 99th highest scoring player in NHL history. Ferraro admitted it isn't easy for players to make sudden changes to their game, and while he said it was small, it would take some time to adapt properly. Hall has carried the puck his entire career, and he's had success with it, so any change is tough, but it makes a lot of sense. Hall's speed already scares D-men, and if he gain a quarter or a half of a step advantage he could be even more dangerous.
     
  • Sidney Crosby will play his 499th game tonight, and he'll play his 500th game vs. the Sharks on Thursday. Crosby already has 701 points in 498 games and whatever points his picks up in the next 72 hours will put leave him with the 6th most points in NHL history through 500 games.

    Wayne Gretzky is first with 1,186.
    Mario Lemieux tallied 971.
    Peter Stastny had 759.
    Mike Bossy scored 757.
    Jari Kurri is 5th with 730.

    Crosby will join a very elite crew, being only the 6th player in NHL history to score 700+ points in his first 500 games.
     
  • In case you are wondering, Alex Ovechkin had 643 points in his first 500 games, including 309 goals.
     
  • The Penguins ability to throw out two dominant centres makes life much easier for head coach Dan Bylsma. While Crosby had a "slow" month, picking up 15 points in 15 games, Evgeni Malkin was on fire with 25 points in 15 games. After a slow start Malkin is now 2nd in league scoring, 35 points, and he's only one back of Crosby.
     
  • I was perplexed in the summer when some people didn't have Corey Perry on the Olympic team. He was great in 2010, and I don't think his foot speed is an issue. He and Ryan Getzlaf are off to a great start, with 29 and 31 points respectively. For me, both of them are locks to make the squad.
     
  • I wonder if the St. Louis Blues are concerned about how they match up vs. the Sharks and Kings. The Sharks have beat them 6-2 and 6-3 this year, while the Kings dominated the Blues for 55 minutes last night, before two late goals made the 3-2 final look more respectable.
     
  • The Blues need a pure finisher, and Marian Gaborik is a UFA at the end of the season. The Blue Jackets likely won't re-sign him, and he would fit perfect in St. Louis. Gaborik won't lead your team to the Cup, but he could be an excellent complementary player in their top-six. With David Backes and Alex Steen down the middle, the Blues don't need a defensively responsible scorer. They need a finisher. The Blues have about $2 million in cap space at the deadline, and if they are willing to spend it, they could fit Gaborik under the cap, by moving out a small salary.
     
  • The Coyotes have scored the 5th most goals in the western conference, but only Calgary and the Oilers have given up more goals. Mike Smith has a .307 GAA and a respectable .910 SV%. He hasn't played as well as they would like, but the Coyotes are giving up way too many shots. The Coyotes, 34.5, are giving up four more shots against than the Oilers, 30.5.
     
  • Dave Tippett's Coyotes aren't playing as defensively as they have in the past.

TONIGHT...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Coyotes have lost four of their last five, and they've given up 4 goals in each loss. The Oilers finally give their fans something to cheer about as defeat a playoff team for only the 2nd time this season. Oilers win 4-1.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hemsky picks up a point. He has 34 points in 33 career games vs. the Coyotes.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Justin Schultz becomes the first Oiler D-man to score two goals in a game since Corey Potter did it late last season. After reading the previous sentence, many of you are stunned that Potter was the last Oiler D-man to score two goals in a game. I was too. Entering tonight the six blueliners have played a combined 2,118 NHL games, and Andrew Ference is the only one to have a multi-goal game. He scored twice on January 5th, 2004. J.Schultz' two goals will indeed be a rare occurrence.

DAY FOUR...MONTH OF GIVING...

Yesterday we raised another $2,500 for Santas Anonymous. Thanks to Ken for the bid and especially to Robert for re-donating the Messier jersey.
 

It includes:

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or 1.800.243.1945. All the proceeds will go to the Christmas Bureau. Thanks in advance to all of those who make a bid.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 They're $hittie
December 03 2013, 02:05PM
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Which Line should take the Cherry minutes>

Props for Arcobello-Yak-Perron

Trash for Gagner-Hemsky-Jones

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#2 "Tears a Streamin" 1 fan
December 04 2013, 11:29AM
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bleedblue wrote:

I saw lots of empty seats. If ticket holders refuse to go at least find some kids that cant afford the NHL experience. Lots of kids enjoy the circus. Seriously find some kids worthy.

No !!!!

I'm "wasting" $20,000 a year on season tickets, this is the only voice I have left.

Let them play in front of empty seats. That is what this organization deserves. Maybe if we stay away long enough, the Oilers will call to ask if we plan on coming back to the games.

I'll tell them to "just be patient" !!!

That would be justice.

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#3 vetinari
December 03 2013, 01:37PM
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"I was perplexed in the summer when some people didn't have Corey Perry on the Olympic team. He was great in 2010, and I don't think his foot speed is an issue. He and Ryan Getzlaf are off to a great start, with 29 and 31 points respectively. For me, both of them are locks to make the squad."

I misread this the first time and read Corey POTTER rather than Corey PERRY and spewed coffee half-way across the room... a quick re-read later and all is right once more in the hockey world...

As for the lineup, I'm not so sure that Grebeshkov and Justin Schultz are a duo that I would want to play together on defence... who's going to be standing behind them when they turn the puck over at the other team's blue line and give up a 3-on-none rush? Oh yeah, one of our elite goalies... that should end well...

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#4 Reg Dunlop
December 03 2013, 10:08PM
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Looks like Eakins fell asleep or passed out due to malnutrition. Get him a donair.

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#5 Rod from Viking
December 03 2013, 11:09PM
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Did I hear right? Did Eakins throw Arco under the bus?What about the golden boys and every other player not named Perron.

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#6 Ari Gold
December 03 2013, 03:00PM
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The more I watch Gags play this year, the more I want to feed him to a woodchipper.

Arco is a reasonable replacement for him. When Gordo comes back, trade Gags.

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#7 Zamboni Driver
December 03 2013, 10:13PM
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Dear Rogers,

When you take over the world. Please tell Kevin Quinn that when a game is 6-2 with less than two minutes...

IT'S NOT NECESSARY TO SAY 'REGULATION TIME'.

There will be no overtime, Kev.

Also please give Debrusk a job as a cable installer. He seems like a nice fellow.

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#8 BingBong
December 03 2013, 10:27PM
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The game I just watched was Phoenix 5 - Perron 2.

Oh, and it's time to send Petry down to OKC for a little seasoning. Wait, what? He's our best dman?!?

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#9 6 ring circus
December 03 2013, 06:33PM
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I have been a long time season seat holder and the last few years its been getting harder to give tickets away,it takes six or seven calls before I can find anyone who want's the tickets for FREE,I have them posted on Kijji and the Oiler's site with no luck and they are posted way below face value,there have been a few games this year were no one wanted them at all,this is my last season subsidizing the Oilers,I am done supporting the old boy's club Six rings and the gang!!!

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#10 Oiler Al
December 03 2013, 10:59PM
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Gretsky, can be traded, but Gagner cant...

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#11 **
December 04 2013, 09:31AM
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About Eakins throwing Arcobello under the bus, this from Bruce McCurdy at the cult of hockey in the Edmonton Journal:

"#26 Mark Arcobello, 3. Was “way off” according to Eakins, and I largely agree. He had his issues defensively, couldn’t close down the passing lane on the 2-1 goal, the 5-2 goal, or the disallowed goal (which was another own-zone meltdown by the Oil that should have been punished but wasn’t, quite). On the other hand, this guy also posted the following stats: Corsi +16/-4; shots +9/-3; a team-high 2 hits; a team-high 3 blocked shots; and a team-leading 2:37 SH TOI. Recorded an assist (on a nice interception and dish to Perron). Oh yeah, he was also credited with drawing 3 penalties. Either statistics are damned liars or Arco’s game wasn’t completely “way off”."

I think it was classless from Eakins to say that about Arco when there were others who suck even worse (Petry anyone?).

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#12 Will
December 03 2013, 01:33PM
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As someone who was really excited to get a minnie pack, watching the Oilers at home has been a waste of money.

I watched Dubnyk lose what was an otherwise good home opener. I watched back to back shut outs against Toronto and then Dallas. Then Finally, at long last, the last home game I went to was the 7-0 blow out against Columbus.

Needless to say I am no longer going out of my way to get tickets.

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#13 Zamboni Driver
December 03 2013, 11:17PM
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So Arcobello - AHL player in the NHL because the brain trust can't scout. Gets an assist. Is minus 1.

HE is the problem.

Gagner. 33% faceoff. -2 (as were stellar linemates Tinman and Smyth) $3.2 million. 5'9.

Not the problem.

Gotcha coach.

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#14 Benny Botts
December 03 2013, 03:07PM
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Arius Mumin wrote:

Egins is a joke!

I wonder who really runs this team: Hall or Eberle? Everyline and everyplayer has been shuffled around on the regular, yet, their line stays together-no matter the lack of success on EV and PP.

Oilers didn't want to bring in an expierenced coach this year, because by now he would have put Hall and Eberle in their place and we would have a bigger problem than not winning.

This is by far one of the worse and misguided comments I have seen on ON.

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#15 Larry
December 03 2013, 08:49PM
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Dubnyk needs to go...

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#16 nick
December 04 2013, 11:12AM
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Clarko wrote:

I agree that there isn't anybody who is untouchable, but I don't think the top two offensive players on the team are the major problem and trading them for more grit but less scoring will not help this team.

This team has one of the worst defensive cores in the league with extremely inconsistent goaltending. Dubnyk looks like he could be a very good goalie on some nights and then totally looks like he would struggle on a beer-league team the next night.

And yet somehow MacTavish trades one of his better defencemen to Calgary for a small centre iceman playing in the minors and a prospect goaltender. What an idiot

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#17 bleedblue
December 04 2013, 11:13AM
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I saw lots of empty seats. If ticket holders refuse to go at least find some kids that cant afford the NHL experience. Lots of kids enjoy the circus. Seriously find some kids worthy.

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#18 forsoothed
December 03 2013, 01:42PM
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Friends and I split a pair of season tickets and we're among those who've wasted some this year, including tonight. Well, we don't actually waste them, we donate them, but you get my drift.

There are loads of empty seats each game... the atmosphere at Rx is definitely different this year. Anyone else have the same experience?

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#19 BingBong
December 03 2013, 01:57PM
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Grebs and J. Schultz on the same pairing? Seems like a recipe for disaster.

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#20 OilMan31
December 03 2013, 08:51PM
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Absolutely pathetic, no defensive awareness what so ever. Gagner looks like he's out for Sunday skate

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#21 Zamboni Driver
December 03 2013, 10:05PM
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By the way, the worst player on this team right now is Sam Gagner. How he isn't benched is absolutely beyond me.

"But he's still a kid" - You'd think after 7 years in the NHL he'd have half a clue what to do in his own zone. He has none.

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#22 Slats
December 03 2013, 11:08PM
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@kale

Arcobello???????

Really Eakins - next time watch the game instead of bumbling around behind the bench Mr. Bean!

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#23 Oiler Al
December 04 2013, 06:10AM
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Come on ON, can you not manage this idiot Mike Krusyshetsky... this is insane.. this is not a glich,, this guy is manipulating your site and you let him get away with it.

PS.. unless unless you want to impress your advertisers with the number of hits.

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#24 tony
December 03 2013, 06:56PM
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BingBong wrote:

Grebs and J. Schultz on the same pairing? Seems like a recipe for disaster.

the math is simple 1+1= -2

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#25 Spydyr
December 04 2013, 06:36AM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Gagner fall down and not 1 team mate skates over to check on his wellbeing. Gotta love the skill on display, however.

Gagner falls down three times a shift.It is nothing new.

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#26 Feddie
December 03 2013, 01:48PM
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forsoothed wrote:

Friends and I split a pair of season tickets and we're among those who've wasted some this year, including tonight. Well, we don't actually waste them, we donate them, but you get my drift.

There are loads of empty seats each game... the atmosphere at Rx is definitely different this year. Anyone else have the same experience?

I can't sell my tickets for half their face value - it's even tough to give them away on many nights! Definitely my last year as a seson ticket holder after 24 years!

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#27 Quintana
December 03 2013, 09:42PM
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Lots of good UFA Golies this off-season........Dubnyk is garbage.

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#28 Taylor Gang
December 03 2013, 04:15PM
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Gagner and Yakupov need to pick their game up. No excuses

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#29 Hockey fan 1976
December 03 2013, 09:40PM
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So exactly how many games does Ganger has to play after getting back to make people realize he's not as good as people think and Arco is a much better and cheaper option. God we are awful on defence!!!! And Eakins sucks!!!

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#30 Cubsfan
December 03 2013, 11:09PM
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is there a worse franchise in professional sports right now?

Dubnyk was awful cause he figures his job is secure now that Bryz is injured

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#31 Chris.
December 04 2013, 01:03PM
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I'm annoyed at the lack of finish. Our ~skill~ players (you know the guys who don't hit, block shots, or stand up for each other, or bring any other useful intangible element to their game) had nearly as many quality looks as the Coyote forwards but failed to convert.

There are 2 to 3 hundred players in the league with better shooting percentages than our "young guns"... Our entire first line has only 2 more goals than Alexander Steen!

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#32 Arius Mumin
December 03 2013, 01:31PM
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Egins is a joke!

I wonder who really runs this team: Hall or Eberle? Everyline and everyplayer has been shuffled around on the regular, yet, their line stays together-no matter the lack of success on EV and PP.

Oilers didn't want to bring in an expierenced coach this year, because by now he would have put Hall and Eberle in their place and we would have a bigger problem than not winning.

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#33 Oilcruzer
December 03 2013, 10:38PM
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On the plus side, I don't need to set aside money for playoff tickets.

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#34 HOFFFF
December 04 2013, 02:59AM
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Only the Oilers could drive 6 first rounders into the dirt. Thats not counting all of them. I think there are ten first round draft picks on the Oilers right now? Career destroyers.

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#35 S cottV
December 04 2013, 10:04AM
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It really is curious as to Eakins calling out Arcobello after that mess of a game last night. Petry yeah but Arco? The biggest problem was 6 GA's and two 2 GF's and Arco was directly responsible for one of the GF's. 1st GA - terrible PK positioning from Hall and Eberle to allow an easy pass thru the middle up top and no collapse to the net by them. Awful. 2nd GA - I would fault Petry more than Arco on that back door play. We had Joensuu, Ferrance and Petry back vs 3 Coyotes, so not sure what Petry's problem is. Count to 3 and take the 3rd guy... 3rd GA - flukey one, but Joensuu very slow to get to the shooter up top and not in the shooting lane, like he doesnt want to get hit. 4th GA - Why we have wingers behind our net is beyond me, but Jones was there, so Gagner needs to swap assignments and have awareness behind him. Nope. 5th GA - Petry all the way out to lunch on this one. Good offensive move but not that good. Arco on the ice but whats he gonna do? 6th GA - doesn't really matter at this point but not a great rebound from Dubie. It starts with Joensuu in the corner for some unknown reason? Puck goes to Joensuu's man at the point and he has nothing but time and space on his hands. Arco should be singled out under these circumstances? No - that is just wrong. So many breakdowns with suspect d systems and Eakins has to take responsibility. A coach is only as good - as his ability to influence the players to do what he wants them to do. What about calling out the RNH, Hall, Eberle, Yak, the PP, - we only scored 2 goals... but calling out Arco? Wow....

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#36 gcw_rocks
December 04 2013, 12:55PM
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tileguy wrote:

from an Andrey Osadchenko blog dated March 2/13.

"YAKUPOV: 'YOU WANT TO OUT THERE AND WIN GAMES JUST BECAUSE OF KRUEGER'"

Isn't that the irony of this situation. Krueger knew how to motivate and teach, but was in over his head on NHL strategy. He apparently asked for an experienced NHL assistant/associate coach or two to assist with the strategy part to help the team win.

Mr. "Smartest man in the room" Mactavish fired him and brought in Eakins instead. Now we have a guy who doesn't appear to know NHL strategy AND can't motivate/teach his players.

Well done, MacT. Well done.

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#37 Quicksilver ballet
December 03 2013, 01:29PM
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Those Pucking Coyotes school our developemental Oilers squad 5-2 this evening.

Continue to do nothing Mac T, accept failure/preach patience and stay the tankage course.

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#38 steelymac
December 03 2013, 08:51PM
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We will never be a winning team with goaltending like this.Instantly deflates the team.List your house Dubey you wont be back.

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#39 madjam
December 03 2013, 09:50PM
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Size is killing us this game ! No contest.

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#40 Reg Dunlop
December 03 2013, 09:51PM
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Nice goal by Yandle but who doesn't like the high end potential of the oil? Who wants a generic player like Moss when you can have 12 million invested long term in Hall and Ebs?

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#41 RexHolez
December 03 2013, 09:52PM
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I have to wake up in 6 hours for work. The sad part is I know better than to stay up to watch this team.

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#42 Rheal1
December 04 2013, 04:31AM
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Congrats to Kevin Lowe & Darryl Katz!!!! Oilers are the first team to reach 100 GA!!! Great vision for management!!! I can hear the kids demanding a trade anytime now!!! Can you say bye bye Deadmonton Oilers, welcome Seattle Oilers? Good riddance.

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#43 6 ring circus
December 04 2013, 10:41AM
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This season will end up no different then the past 7 seasons,the rebuild has been a complete failure,at the end of the season Katz should hire an experienced president of hockey operations from a winning organization,someone who has a proven track record in management,and rebuild this team from the top all the way down,look at what Montreal and Colorado have done in just 2 years,The incompetents who have been in charge of this rebuild have had 8 years and we are no closer today then when we started,In any other team or business there would have been major changes in management and the organization by now, how much longer is the fan base expected to watch this sorry excuse for a hockey team?

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#44 A-Mc
December 03 2013, 02:11PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Which Line should take the Cherry minutes>

Props for Arcobello-Yak-Perron

Trash for Gagner-Hemsky-Jones

Gagner's line because he can't win a draw to save his life.

I have much more faith in Arco and Perron to get the puck into the proper zone and sustain pressure.

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#45 Lofty
December 03 2013, 03:59PM
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Props to everyone who doesn't use their tickets!

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#46 LOIL
December 03 2013, 08:49PM
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All of you petry lovers need to give it up, he's weak and is only bringing us down. He should have left with Gilbert, they are practically the same.

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#47 Alsker
December 03 2013, 09:32PM
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Lets hope the Bryzzly bear returns thursday...can't stand the DD show(considering my love of cleavage and push up bras this is not easy to say).

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#48 Bucknuck
December 03 2013, 09:50PM
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dammit Dubnyk, WOULD YOU SAVE SOMETHING!? friggin pylon.

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#49 Alsker
December 03 2013, 10:09PM
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Glad they practiced all day on the PP yesterday, made a huge difference tonight.

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#50 Puck JammeR!
December 04 2013, 10:13AM
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cheers

My girlfriend, who is not a hockey fan in the least, was watching the game with me last night and she was like "they always have guys blocking us from getting to the net, why don't our guys block our net?"

Well, Mr. Eakins? She's waiting for an answer.

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